This time of year, two things are on my mind: Taxes and Mom's Birthday.
I don't think about Easter, because, honestly, Easter is too high-maintenance for me. I don't like elusive holidays. I draw the line at counting Thursdays for Thanksgiving. I'm not about to investigate what month a holiday is in.
And sadly, every American has the annual "guess what number the IRS has for you because Turbotax owns our government!"
I can't think too much about my government⏤the government of middlemen. It will ruin my day.
Which leaves me with Mom's birthday. Buying for her should be easy peasy (she's not a difficult person), but unfortunately, I'm a try-hard when it comes to gift giving - particularly with Mom, or "Mehm" as I call her. I like to match people with their efforts. I never want someone to feel like they got the short end of the stick in a gift-giving relationship, but with Mehm that's near impossible because she has abilities that are typically found in fiction. She's practically psychic.
If I so much as have a fleeting thought about an object, she knows. If something breaks, she knows. If I lose something, I don't have to tell her, she already knows.
If I drop a toothbrush into a toilet, a signal radiates into the universe that Mehm picks up like Batman and the Bat-Signal. Next thing I know, she's handing me a pack of 10 toothbrushes from Sam's Club.
"I hope this isn't weird, but these were on sale and I thought you might like to have extra toothbrushes around. I don't know."
Even she doesn't know why she bought them. It's instinctual. It's as if an invisible force made her do it. Every seemingly bizarre, yet unknowingly perfect gift is always offered without obligation, "You won't hurt my feelings if you don't want it."
Before Ryan and I were married, I used to tell him about this and he always assumed I was exaggerating.
"No," I would insist, "I'm serious. Anytime I need something really specific, she gives it to me the next time I see her. It could be anything."
It was understandable that Ryan found "the mom sense" to be unbelievable. It sounded made up, and I do tend to exaggerate for entertainment value. But there was no exaggeration this time. It was my norm. It happened so many times it's difficult to recall specific events⏤like remembering what you ate for lunch last year.
Ryan never believed me. Until it happened to him.
Ten years ago, it was panic at our house. Ryan was getting ready for a show. At that time, he was in a cover band that would play the casino circuit every weekend. Every Friday was the same mad dash to change strings, get dressed, and get the equipment in the car. It doesn't sound like a lot unless you have experienced it. Getting to and from a gig is the most annoying, stressful part of a show⏤I say that as someone who has had my own show chaos.
Mehm was on her way to my house. The plan was for the two of us to hang out for a while and go to the show later instead of being a part of the whole event. A gig could easily turn into a full 8-hour shift (load in, sets, breaks, load out⏤all while, drunk, dehydrated, and tired in a casino with no sense of time). It was too much sometimes, even for the early-twenties me.
The car was loaded, and Ryan was ready to go - well, almost. His pants were barely hanging on, and he was in a higher state of panic than usual.
"Have you seen my belt?! I can't find my belt!"
We scoured the house, flipping cushions and digging through hampers and closets to no avail. It was as if his belt had slipped into another dimension. Looking back, it was probably eaten by our horse-sized dog we had at the time. Moose had an affinity for clothing. He once ate an entire pair of pants leaving only the pockets behind.
In our panicked state, there was a knock at the door.
It was Mehm. She seemed startled, probably by my wild-eyed expression. In one hand, she had her usual 32 oz fountain drink⏤ in the other, a belt.
Ryan was coming up behind me to greet her, failing to hide his panic.
"I know this is really weird," She said, starting the usual speech that came with something the Bat-Signal made her bring against her will, "but I found a belt at a garage sale, and I thought it might fit Ryan. If he doesn't want it, he won't hurt my feelings."
I turned to look at him. His face had contorted with disbelief. I was grinning, ecstatic to witness him joining a club I had been a long-time member of.
"We've been looking for his belt!" I said.
"Yeah, I can't find it and I've never lost it before," He added.
Mehm seemed to share in the surprise as she handed it to him. It wasn't long before Ryan was yelling from another room that it fit.
How do you buy a present for someone with those kinds of abilities? What on earth do you give master gift-givers that have everything - even non-occasions - cornered?
I have yet to figure it out. Mehm swears that she likes giving gifts more than receiving them, so choose to believe that for my sanity. I hope she's not bored of flowers.